Tech rally comes up short as Hokies fall to FSU in ACC title game
By Jimmy Robertson
December 4, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Despite getting a career-high 335 yards passing from quarterback Marcus Vick, the Virginia Tech Hokies couldn't overcome a 27-3 deficit and ended up falling 27-22 to Florida State in the inaugural ACC championship game played Saturday night at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville.

With the loss, the Hokies fell to 10-2 overall, and they lost to Florida State for the 12th straight time. Florida State improved to 8-4 overall and won the league's automatic berth into the Bowl Championship Series.

Tech finds itself probably headed back to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl on Jan. 2nd. If Gator Bowl officials select the Hokies, it will mark Tech's fifth appearance in the game.

"You just have to deal with it," Tech's Cedric Humes said. "It's not something we wanted to happen, but we're going to make the best of it. Going into this game [the bowl game], there won't be any letdown. The way this team is, I think we'll have a chip out on our shoulder and come in ready to win and ready to finish this season out strong."

FSU snapped a 3-3 game at halftime early in the third quarter when punt returner Willie Reid returned a Nic Schmitt punt 83 yards for a touchdown. Gary Cismesia's extra point gave the Seminoles a 10-3 with 13:46 left in the third quarter.

Reid's touchdown sparked a Seminole outburst. FSU scored two touchdowns in a span of 2:59 and ended up scoring on four of its first five second-half possessions.

A Vick interception led to a 14-yard run by Leon Washington that gave FSU a 17-3 lead with 10:47 left in the third quarter, Cismesia's 41-yard field goal and Drew Weatherford's 6-yard touchdown pass to Chris Davis gave the Seminoles a 27-3 lead with 35 ticks left in the third quarter.

Tech tried to rally. Trailing 27-3, the Hokies started airing it out to get back in the game and Vick managed to find Josh Morgan for a 28-yard touchdown pass with 13:29 left in the game. Tech went for two and failed, and trailed 27-9.

On Tech's next possession, Vick used his legs to get the Hokies on the board. He scored on a 4-yard run with 10:57 left in the game. Tech went for two and again failed to get it, and thus trailed 27-15.

Vick's 1-yard plunge and Brandon Pace's extra point cut the lead to 27-22 with 1:45 left in the game. Tech then went for an onsides kick, but Xavier Adibi recovered the ball before it had gone 10 yards, and FSU took over possession. The Seminoles ran out the clock for the win.

"I'm proud of our football team," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "We battled back, but we got ourselves in too much of a hole. All the credit goes to Florida State. They did a great job. It was great effort by us, but great play by Florida State."

Vick completed 26-of-52 for 335 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. And he scored the two rushing touchdowns. Morgan caught a career-high seven passes for a career-high 128 yards. Tech, though, never got its vaunted rushing attack going, rushing for just 41 yards despite averaging more than 200 per game coming into the contest, and the Hokies allowed six sacks.

Weatherford completed 21-of-35 for 225 yards for FSU, with a touchdown. Reid caught five passes for 79 yards in addition to returning the punt back for a score.

Reid was named the MVP of the championship game for the Seminoles, while Vick received the honor for the Hokies.

The Hokies now await final word on their bowl destination, and Tech officials should know something definite by early next week.